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Blue Jays, MLB ask Canadian government for permission to play in Toronto

Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The coronavirus pandemic continues to leave the Toronto Blue Jays without a firm home in 2020.

Amid the uncertainty, the Blue Jays have asked the Canadian government for permission to cross the border and play home games in Toronto. Major League Baseball also sent an official restart plan to the federal government.

"The resumption of activities in Canada must be undertaken in adherence to Canada's plan to mitigate the importation and spread of COVID-19," Canada Public Health Agency spokeswoman Anna Maddison told Rob Gillies of The Associated Press. "The Public Health Agency of Canada has received, and is currently assessing, a restart plan from Major League Baseball."

Maddison added that the province of Ontario's health authorities must also approve the restart plan, according to Gillies.

The MLB players' association informed agents that the team expects a response in the next day or two, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

If allowed to play in Canada, the Blue Jays will then request to move their spring training from Dunedin, Florida, to the Rogers Centre, according to Rosenthal.

Should the request not be approved, the Blue Jays are planning to stage camp at their Dunedin complex, with Buffalo's Sahlen Field, home of the Triple-A Bisons, as an alternative location, according to Rosenthal.

Dunedin's TD Ballpark has been seen as the likely backup plan if the Blue Jays can't play in Toronto. It's unclear if any of the team's regular-season games could be staged in Buffalo.

The Canada-United States border continues to be closed to non-essential travel until July 21 due to the pandemic. All travelers entering Canada are currently required to isolate for 14 days, whether or not they show symptoms of the coronavirus. If the Blue Jays play in Toronto, both themselves and the visiting opponents would be subject to those restrictions.

Multiple Blue Jays players and staff reportedly tested positive for the virus in Florida over the past week. One unidentified pitcher tested positive after spending time with members of the Philadelphia Phillies who also contracted the virus at their complex.

Florida's COVID-19 spike has continued unabated, with a record 5,508 cases reported across the state overnight, according to William Feuer of CNBC. Pinellas County, which includes Dunedin, reported over 350 new cases alone, Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reported.

Ontario reported 163 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, with 71 in the city of Toronto, per Sportsnet's Hazel Mae.

The 60-game MLB season is scheduled to begin on July 23 and 24.

Blue Jays, MLB ask Canadian government for permission to play in Toronto
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